Cheat-Seeking Missles

Monday, May 12, 2008

While We Weren't Watching

So busy have we been tracking the Obama/Clinton race that we haven't really been tracking the GOP returns. It turns out that even though McCain long ago got the delegates he needs, there's some interesting stuff in those overlooked stats. Andrew Malcolm at Top of the Ticket fills us in:
In Indiana, McCain got 77% of the recent Republican primary vote, Mike Huckabee and Mitt Romney, who've each long ago quit and endorsed McCain, still got 10% and 5% respectively, while Paul took 8%.

On the same May 6 in North Carolina, McCain received less than three-quarters of Republican votes (74%), while Huckabee got 12%, Paul 7% and Alan Keyes and No Preference took a total of 7%.

Pennsylvania was even slightly worse for the GOP's presumptive nominee, who got only 73% to a combined 27% for Paul (16%) and Huckabee (11%).
Either of the Dem candidates would kill for 73% of the vote, but for McCain, his inability to command the Dem vote so long after he won the nomination shows that there could be considerable trouble ahead, first at the convention, then in the General.

Malcolm's column focuses on a possible convention fight from Ron Paul's supporters:
The last three months Paul's forces, who donated $34.5 million to his White House effort and upwards of one million total votes, have, as The Ticket has noted, been fighting a series of guerrilla battles with party establishment officials at county and state conventions from Washington and Missouri to Maine and Mississippi. Their goal: to take control of local committees, boost their delegate totals and influence platform debates. ...

They hope to demonstrate their disagreements with McCain vocally at the convention through platform fights and an attempt to get Paul a prominent speaking slot. Paul, who's running unopposed in his home Texas district for an 11th House term, still has some $5 million in war funds and has instructed his followers that their struggle is not about a single election, but a longterm revolution for control of the Republican Party.

So eager are they to follow their leader's words, that Paul's supporters have driven his new book, "The Revolution: A Manifesto," to the top of several bestseller lists.
Still, all the nastiness the Paulites could possible foist on the convention will pale by comparison to what the Clinton faction could do to Obama. The Paulites are taking the long-term view, determined to hang in there until the GOP becomes fiscally conservative and isolationist. A mixed bag there.

Short term, as in now through 2012, there may be more to worry about from the Huckabee set.

Huckabee has professed never-ending allegiance to McCain (at least for this race), but in a piece I really didn't like much because of its paranoid and bizarre tone about Christians, Robert Novak spells out a cultish scenario, in which Obama is a biblical curse and Huckabee God's choice for 2012:
One experienced, credible activist in Christian politics who would not let his name be used told me that Huckabee, in personal conversation with him, had embraced the concept that an Obama presidency might be what the American people deserve. That fits what has largely been a fringe position among evangelicals: that the pain of an Obama presidency is in keeping with the Bible's prophecy.

According to this activist, at the heart of the let-Obama-win movement is longtime Virginia conservative leader Michael Farris -- the nation's leading home-school advocate, who is now chancellor of Patrick Henry College (in Purcellville, Va.) for home-schooled students. Best known politically as the losing Republican candidate for lieutenant governor of Virginia in 1993, Farris is regarded as one of the hardest-edged Christian politicians. He is reported in evangelical circles to promote the biblical justification for an Obama plague-like presidency.
Novak doesn't report that droves of Christians will vote Obama to bring on the plague; in fact, he reports that Farris has said he would never vote for either Obama or Clinton. But they will be at the convention to push the Christian right agenda.

The media is playing up this story in part because the Dem race as slid into a boring period, like the final rounds of a heavyweight match, with the opponents leaning into each other, landing tired body punches, and in part because any McCain news is news.

But it seems to me that it will play out primarily in the arcane affair of drafting the platform, and that's not at all a bad thing. McCain's platform could use a commitment to fiscal conservatives and strict constructionist judges, and little more than that is likely to come out of the battle.

Now what I'd really like to see is a bunch of stories speculating on what the Dem convention is likely to be like.

hat-tip: memeorandum

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